The morning after the Independence School Board approved the appointment of Daniel Bieser as the new activities director at Truman High School, Eric Holm made it official.
Holm, a Truman graduate who had been the activities director since 2004, passed the baton to Beiser, the assistant principal and activities director at George Caleb Bingham Middle School – literally.
“When I heard that the board OK’d Daniel, I dug around and found an old beat up baton,” said Holm, who has been at the forefront of many of the dramatic additions at Truman, including a second gymnasium and an on-site football field. “I went over to Bingham the next morning and passed the baton to Daniel. It was a special moment for me, and I hope it was special for Daniel.”
It goes without saying that Bieser enjoyed the ceremonial passing of the torch, er, baton.
“That was so special,” said Bieser, who has been at Bingham the past two years after serving as a math teacher and head boys basketball coach at Van Horn High School the previous seven years. “The administration knew that I had accepted the job at Truman, but the students and many of the teachers didn’t know, so I asked Eric to come into my office.
“He had the baton under his jacket and handed it to me. It was literally the passing of the baton, and figuratively the passing of the baton and that gesture meant so much to me.
“I know I have some very big shoes to fill, because Eric did so much more than just serve as an activities director. When people thought of Truman High School, they thought of Eric. He is just the best.”
Principal Ronda Scott agrees.
“We love Eric,” said Scott, who is also a Truman grad, “and we are so excited to work with Daniel. We haven’t had that much interaction, but I know how excited he is to come to Truman and we’re all excited to work with him.”
Under Holm’s watch, the boys basketball team made the state final four in 2007-08 and the softball team won a state championship in 2012. Last year he was named Missouri State High School Athletic Administrators Kansas City District Athletic Director of the Year. Holm also started the Truman Hall of Fame, which recently celebrated its 11th class.
Bieser said one of his first priorities will be overseeing the renovation of the Truman primary gymnasium, along with getting accustomed to a new athletic office that will be located just south of the gym makeover.
“I can’t wait to get to know the leadership team and the students at Truman, because I haven’t really had a lot of interaction with them because Bingham is a feeder school for Chrisman,” said Bieser, who graduated from Harris-Stowe University in St. Louis, then got his masters at William Woods College in Fulton, Mo., and his education specialist certification at Arkansas State University in Jonesboro, Ark.
“We’re all excited about the renovation of the gym, which will fit in with the other renovations to the cafeteria and the science class rooms. It’s an exciting time to be a part of everything happening at Truman.
“And I know I’ll have great support from Marilyn (Reinhard, the administrative assistant to the activities director), and Eric is always a phone call away.”
While Holm will be on the job until the end of the school year, Bieser is already preparing for the big move.
“First, I want to talk with all the coaches and find out what we are doing well, and what areas need improvement.
“Second, I want to get the community involved. I want to get out in the community, get our coaches and students out in the community to everyone excited about all the activities we offer at Truman.”
While many sports – especially on the girls side – have thrived, the football program has struggled. And that is something Bieser wants to approach with second-year coach Charlie Pugh.
“Charlie is the right coach for this team, and we want to give him all the help we can,” Bieser said. “We need to get our players – all our players – in the weight room. And I don’t just mean during the season.
“We need our players in the weight room in the summer. And we need to walk through our hallways and make sure that all our athletes are playing a sport. I believe we can compete in football, like we have been competing in all the other sports.
“And I want to help every activity – band, speech, debate, drama – thrive and grow. Like I said before, it’s an exciting time to be at Truman High School and I just want to do my part to help it continue to grow.”